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Pius X Alumni Association website dedicated to all who attended St.
Pius X Preparatory Seminary, 1220 Front Street, Uniondale, New York.
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Msgr. Thomas Hartman, beloved classmate, class of '63
A wake will be
held at Saint Aidanís Church, 505 Willis Avenue, Williston
Park, on Friday, February 19, from 2:00 Ė 6:30 p.m. Mass of
Transferral at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The funeral Mass will be
at St. Aidanís on Saturday, February 20 at 11 a.m.
Msgr. Thomas Hartman,
the Roman Catholic priest from Long Island nationally known
as half of the God Squad, a popular television show about
religion, died following a years-long battle with Parkinson’s
disease. He was 69.
Father Tom, as he was known, became a household name with
Rabbi Marc Gellman following the success of the TV show they
co-hosted for 20 years on Telecare, the faith-based cable
network that Hartman ran for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
The show led to a nationally-syndicated newspaper column,
as well as regular TV and radio appearances on shows with
larger audiences than their own, such as Good Morning America.
After his diagnosis, Hartman stepped back from the spotlight
and founded a charity that donated millions to find a cure
“Our friendship produced many words, but it never needed
words,” Gellman wrote in his Newsday column Wednesday
eulogizing Hartman. “Tommy taught me that smiles are
more important than words, and I do not need words now to
remember that transformative wisdom.”
Hartman grew up in East Williston before entering the Hempstead
seminary when he was in the ninth grade after passing up his
dream of becoming a baseball player and instead joining the
clergy like his uncle, aunts and cousins before him. He was
ordained in 1971 and eight years later graduated with a Doctor
of Ministry degree from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkley.
Hartman was also a parish priest at St. Vincent de Paul in
Elmont and a chaplain for the Nassau County Police Department.
Hartman joined forces with Gellman, the Rabbi Emeritus of
Temple Beth Torah in Melville, after the two met while discussion
religion on News12 Long Island. The next day, they formed
the God Squad, in which the straight-laced Hartman and quick-witted
Gellman discussed morality and religion.
The duo eventually became LI’s best-known clergymen,
making appearances on national cable news networks. They were
even animated for an HBO children’s special based on
their book of the same name, How Do You Spell God? But if
they ever struggled to balance their fame and their duties,
it never showed.
”I’m definitely the straight man,” Hartman
told The New York Times during the height of their fame in
the ‘90s. ”Marc is much funnier than I and more
vocal. I’m quieter. I want Marc to be the star. To some
degree I’ve had more fame. Initially he had to gain
it. So it was bigger in his mind. And in many ways he’s
more talented than I.”
In 2003, Hartman broke the news of his diagnoses in his newspaper
column, which had only launched a year prior. He had kept
it secret for four years by that point. Gellman still writes
the column for Tribune Media Services, but visited Hartman
weekly at the nursing home where Father Tom lived until his
Hartman’s charity donations led to the formation of
the Thomas Hartman Foundation for Parkinson Research in the
Department of Neurobiology & Behavior at Stony Brook University.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Msgr. Tom Hartman, a life devoted to God and service
February 17, 2016 5:24 PM By James M. McNamara
About a week after ordination, Msgr. Tom Hartman and the Rev. James M. McNamara celebrated Mass
at an Albertson school for disabled children. Photo Credit: James M. McNamara
M. McNamara, at the request of the Hartman family, will deliver
the homily at the Mass of Transferral, a liturgy that takes
place the night before a priest’s funeral mass. It will
be held at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, 2/18/2016, at St. Aidan’s Church
in Williston Park.
Each of us is a mystery embedded in the creative love of God.
To appreciate a person we have but a glimpse here and there,
a story to tell, a memory to recall.
“Maybe 10 percent of you will become priests.”
Those words resounded in the hearts of 110 freshmen on the
first day at St. Pius X High School Seminary in the fall of
1959. Msgr. Tom Hartman, who died late Tuesday, and I were
Despite our youth (I was 14; he was 13) and inexperience,
we wanted to be priests. We were ordained together on May
29, 1971 by Bishop Walter Kellenberg. Tom was assigned to
St. James Church in Seaford, and I went to St. Martin of Tours
in Amityville. We were living the dream that began a dozen
years before. To understand Tom, you need to see him through
the lens of his vocation. He believed God was calling him
to use his considerable gifts and talents to serve others
as a priest. This was especially evident in his kindness —
always available to people.
Serving those in need
In 1996, nurses became very concerned for women who were dying
of AIDS. They were the dying poor of the day. These women
had an abundance of compassion but a dearth of resources.
They wanted to build a home so people would not die alone
and unloved. I offered them land at Our Lady of Grace Roman
Catholic Church in West Babylon, where I was pastor. Then
I asked myself: Who might have the heart, the resources and
the connections to make this dream a reality? Tom, of course.
He was well known for raising money for worthy causes. Over
dinner, I asked Tom to get involved and raise the money needed
to both build and operate the facility. And thus Christa House-The
Jerry Hartman Residence was born and served the dying poor
for a decade. Jerry Hartman was Tom’s brother who died
of this dreadful disease several years before.
Journey through prayer
St. Ignatius of Loyola developed a retreat called The Spiritual
Exercises. One would spend 30 days on retreat in prayer and
meditation. Since people could not take 30 days away, he developed
this retreat to be done amid daily life. One meets with a
director several times a week to move through the experience
of the spiritual exercises. In the Jubilee Year 2000, Tom
asked me whether I would accompany him on this journey. What
a privileged experience this was. Despite a busy schedule
running Telecare and performing baptisms, marriages and funerals
all over Long Island, Tom committed himself to an hour of
prayer a day and to meeting with me several times a week.
He would come at 6:30 a.m., park by the garage and enter near
Christa House through the sliding doors that led to my living
room. No one ever knew he was doing this. It went on for about
Privilege of faith
Tom was full of energy and enthusiasm. That he should be ravaged
by Parkinson’s disease remains a great sadness to me.
At first, it seemed so subtle and then it became more visible.
Slowly, and eventually, his beautiful spirit became imprisoned
by the effects of this illness. In recent years, he had lived
the crucifixion of Christ that some find a scandal and others
an obstacle but that we, who have the privilege of faith,
see as the way to life on high with a God who is purely love.
In one of the meditations of St. Ignatius, he prays a prayer
of acceptance: “Take Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that
I have and possess. You have given all to me. To You, O Lord,
I return it. All is Yours, dispose of it wholly according
to Your will. Give me Your love and Your grace, for this is
sufficient for me.” Poignant times It had been painful
to visit Tom in recent years and try to reach beyond the barrier
of the body to communicate with the beautiful soul within.
Perhaps Tom’s greatest witness has been in these poignant
times. He gave all to Christ: his memory, his understanding,
all he had and possessed, and now Jesus has given him a great
gift — the gift of resurrection, of life on high amid
pure love. May he rest in peace.
Rev. James M. McNamara is pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous
Medal Church in Point Lookout and episcopal vicar of the Central
Vicariate of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Steve Antaki, class of '76
Steve passed suddenly on February 11, 2016. Beloved husband of Theresa. Devoted father of Stephen, Andrew and Alexander. Loving son of Edmund and the late Alice. Dear brother of Marybeth Zeitlen and Joseph. Interment St. Charles Cemetery, Farmingdale. In lieu of flowers contributions to Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk @ habitatsuffolk.org OR Take Me Out To The Ballgame Foundation, Inc, C/O 3988 Keily Drive, Seaford, NY 11783